“We are here to pass along the best savoir faire”

Part of my job as a wine merchant is to stay on top of the global wine world.  Prolific tasting is key to this task, of course.  But so is the more figurative “tasting” I must do – selecting the most relevant articles from the tidal wave of words written about wine.  In both examples, the challenge is to select the most productive samples from the ever-expanding range of possibilities.

Some days my reading task is more enjoyable than others.  Today was such a day, as I came across an interview conducted by the Rare Wine Company with Jean-Paul Jamet, an iconic figure in the Northern Rhône, and one that embodies much of what is good about the dedicated wine grower.  How can you not love his basic idea, which I’ve tried to capture in these two select paragraphs:

Jean-Paul Jamet in Cellar…[Looking philosophical] We are only people who work the vines for a time, and then others arrive behind us…  And, yes, before my generation, there was a big hole, but there was still wine before that – for twenty centuries before that – and then phylloxera and the war and then no wine. And then it starts again and we are here. We are here to pass along the best possible savoir faire, when we can.

I’ve got bottles, large formats. They’re not for me nor for my son, but for generations after that. Sure, there are other ways of doing it [approaching the wine business] and also you have to sell wine to live. But you also have to permit a younger generation in 50 years to say to themselves after trying a [true, aged] Côte-Rôtie: “Whoa! What the heck is this? It’s great!” 

I highly encourage you to read the whole interview here.


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